California 4 year old racking horse ridden in copper snaffle with 6 inch movable shanks and curb chain and  westec western saddle by intermediate rider

Question: I had sam gaiting beautifully after three months of intense training with a trainer.  His head was set and he didnt break gait.  i had to move barns and paid for the new trainer to give him trail lessons to get him used to the new area and some more experience out on the trail.  The new trainer claimed to have experience with the breed.  He then told me my bit was too harsh and to change to a mere snaffle.  I asked him to please be sure he gaits correctly on the trail as i had just paid alot of money to do so.  Well, as i thought would happen, he soon began to break his gait and not listen with the snaffle and the new trainer.  now, after four months, sam is breaking his gait in the arena and on the trail.  I changed his bit just recently to something in between.  He now has a copper snaffle with the movable shanks of only 6 inches with a curb chain.  While at one point he accepted the even harsher bit and gave me his head and gaited on, i know feel though i am start!
ing over.  he is fighting the bit not giving his head and breaking gait.  any suggestions . thanks shana



From Panelists Robin
I beleive I would go back to your original bit,as a very easy solution.  However that might not work either. 
Unfortunately troubleshooting these problems can be very hard without "feeling" a horse out.  I always try to think" What has changed?"    The bit and the trainer.  As I come from the school of thought that a snaffle bit is not the inevitable goal in horse training, I would request to see how your horse is trained? How often is he ridden on the trails? What experience does he have with TWH?  The problem could very well be that the initial trainer put a nice,soft receptive mouth on your horse. Now the trainer with heavier hands  can use any bit in the horses mouth and the horse is going to be conditioned to not perform or sustain a gait because he anticipates getting hurt in the mouth.  Try light hands with riding as a key to see if it is sensitivity in  his mouth. 
My Best,
Robin

From Panelists Darla
That bit sounds like it could be a bit harsh for your young horse!  How are 
your hands?  Are they light and responsive or harsh and heavy?  That makes a 
lot of difference.  He is young and maybe you should try a miracle bit 
without a curb chain to start.  Use a light spur and I enfisize LIGHT.  Maybe 
an english style with just a nub.  He may be freezing because of pain in his 
mouth or just out of not understanding what you want of him.  If he is just 
being stubborn the spur will help.  Try to stay out of his mouth as much as 
possible.  Please feel free to go to my site on Ask  A Trainer and contact me 
personaly.  I will be able to answer more of your questions in person if you 
like. 
 Darla
 
 

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